Friday, December 16, 2005

April 1, 2006

Burn it into your brain because that's it!! It's our wedding date!! YEAH! I am so excited. I also found out that it is the same date as Jeremy and Mandee's anniversary and Pastor Ken and Nadine's anniversary, so at that point I really knew it was the right day. As a side note, Matt wrote his version of the proposal story. (Mine was long, but his much longer - and you thought I was the wordy one). Tomorrow we are driving to Minneapolis to see "The Christmas Carol." Our first Christmas season together has been and will be one of many memories, that's for sure.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Long-Awaited Day

If you saw me today, you know I'm on cloud 999, but I'm getting tired, so I will not write much of an intro here. Here is our engagement story from Saturday, December 10, 2005. By the way, if you know me, you know that I'm pretty observant, so I did have some thoughts that maybe this would be the day he would ask me to marry him - but still worked hard to not expect it :-). Galena, Illinois was the site of our first real date on July 4 this year, and we have really enjoyed visiting a few times since then as well.

Matt called and said he would be over to pick me up at 10:30 a.m. I said I would make monkey bread for breakfast, so I threw it together and put it in to be done about 10:30. He didn’t end up getting there until 11:00. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, so he really threw me off with his low-key demeanor and dress that morning. We drove to Galena and arrived at about 1:30. A few of the bed and breakfasts in town were hosting an open house, so we toured their main areas and saw some of the rooms. They were all built in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, so they have interesting architecture which we both enjoy. At the last B&B, the hostess asked about our plans for the evening. Matt said that we were going to look at the windows and then have dinner. She asked if we had a reservation, and he said no. She said, “On a Saturday night?” So when we left, I asked him if we should call and make a reservation just in case. He said that he figured it was no big deal – last time, we got in on a Saturday with no problem, so we’d be fine. I bought it, so we drove back to Main Street to check out their living windows displays. Considering that Waverly has a pretty awesome living windows Christmas display each year, this was quite elementary to say the least. So we enjoyed making fun of them, but we did admire the real garland and bows adorning many of the shop windows. It was really beautiful.

We stopped at a coffee shop to warm up and sit for a while. When we were getting ready to leave, he mentioned that while I had run to the bathroom, he called and made us a reservation for 8:00 (this was at around 5:30 or so). I just figured they were pretty busy and couldn’t get us in any sooner. So we continued to walk and stopped in a few shops. At one point, we were quite near the restaurant (it was about 6:30), and I thought about asking him to see if they could get us in any sooner, but I decided to just let it go. We went to a SECOND coffee shop from there to kill some more time. Finally at 7:45 or so, we went to the restaurant. This, by the way, is the only restaurant at which we have ever dined in Galena. We absolutely love it, and they have a room that is lowered a few steps from the main level when you walk in. It has stone walls and vines all around the top, and we both really like it and think it would be a very cool dining room someday. So when we walked in, she said that Matt had requested the “dungeon.” I knew she meant that room, so I was excited since we had never been able to eat in there before. There are only two tables there, and the other was empty.

Matt said he was cold and kept his coat on, and we ordered our food. When the bread and salad came, he said he was going to run to the restroom. I figured I would wait until he returned before I started eating, so I did. I waited. And waited. And waited. They seated another couple at the other table, and I’m sitting there alone with salad and bread and not touching any of it. The server walked by and asked if everything was okay – I said yes. He came back again with our dinner and asked if he should bring it back later. I said to leave it; that was fine. I didn’t have my watch and my phone died, so I have no idea how much time really passed, but it had to be about 20 minutes or so. I was feeling really silly in this little room by myself with the other couple. It took so long that I started to wonder what was going on, but I just didn’t want to let myself think anything. But I hoped that at least something cool was happening because our food was going to be cold either way. Finally…Matt came down the stairs – a vase with a dozen red roses in hand, clad in a 3-piece tuxedo (red vest, of course), and a blue box with a white ribbon in the other hand. He sat the flowers on the table and bent down on his knee. He asked me if I would be his wife. I said I had to call Jim first…just KIDDDING!! I said YES! I was quite teary-eyed and couldn’t say much else – I heard the woman at the other table say, “Oh, I’m going to cry!” They clapped when I said yes, too. That was cute. He handed me the box, but I was shaking and having a time getting the ribbon off. I asked him to do it, but he was shaking, too. We managed to get the ring out, and it is unbelievable. We’ll have to get some close-ups soon because it is so gorgeous. I seriously cannot stop staring at it. Since I don’t have a picture right now, I’ll tell you that it’s a .75-carat princess cut center stone with six diamonds in the band on each side (I think he said they are pave diamonds - he is far more diamond-literate than I - it's so cute). It’s so much more beautiful than that even sounds, though – it has detailing on the sides…oh, you’ll just have to see the picture. Or better yet, see me!!

Okay, so then he sat down at his seat. I looked at my plate and said, “I can’t eat anything!” I had totally lost my appetite and was fighting back the tears. So he ate some and told me about how he had planned it all. He was late that morning because he had picked up the roses and the florist told him that if he kept them in the trunk all day in the cold, they would die. So he stopped at Wal-Mart to buy a cooler and stuck them inside it. Then he had to exchange his vest at the rental place, so that all put him half an hour late. The reason our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:00 was because he had arranged a carriage ride at 6:00, but they cancelled all the carriages because of the weather. But to replace the carriage ride, he arranged for a limo to pick us up at the restaurant at 9:00, and we rode around and looked at Christmas lights for an hour. And not just any limo – a sweet, new Lincoln Towncar limo that seated about 10-12 people with fiberoptic lighting in the ceiling inside. It was so “wicked awesome” as Matt would say.

So we were done at 10:00 and proceeded to drive home. I finally was getting hungry, so he got me a hamburger at Burger King. I talked on the phone most of the way home – my parents, both sisters, his sister, Mandy, and his parents, Jim and Sharon, a message for Bill and Natalie, and Cindy. I asked him if it was okay for me to talk on the phone the whole ride – I think it’s generally pretty rude, but in this situation, he said it was fine. He liked hearing me tell the story to everyone. J So, we arrived in Waverly at around 1:00 a.m. I will have to post my Sunday fun later because I am getting very tired and once again, have not eaten dinner yet. But I am pretty sure I’m the happiest girl in the world today, and I wanted to share it with all of you. I wish I could see you, hug you, laugh and scream with you, and tell you in person, but since it doesn’t always work out that way, I figured this would be a good way to spread the news. Our news – we’re engaged! So, from the soon-to-be-Mrs. Matt Gidley, I love you and thank you all for sharing in my joy. It’s a fuller life for having each of you in it. Thank you for loving and supporting us. And to Matt...I love you. I cannot wait to be your wife.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Are You Warm Yet?

If you don't live in Waverly or somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon line, you may not empathize with us here. But this week has been insanely cold, and last night was the culmination of the freezing moments for me. I generally look forward to Windows on Main for quite a while, and this year I was excited to see Crossed perform some Christmas music. Since Maggie (the drummer Jason's fiancée) was driving from Independence, I thought she might be a little late, and I didn't want to have to find a place to park in all the craziness, so I figured I could walk and meet her there when she arrived. I have bag full of scarves and gloves, so I knew I could bundle up, and it's only 5 blocks, right? I'm tough - I can make it that far.

Oh, my word. OH...MY...WORD. I don't even know what the temperature actually was, but I was at the end of the alley on my block when I realized that this was no ordinary cold. I began to think of all the things I could have done to be warmer for this trek - an additional pair of socks, knee-high boots, tights, a warm hat, an extra pair of gloves...the list goes on. How did I leave the house so unprepared for this? And why again did I choose not to drive? It was the longest 5-block walk of my life...wait, all of a sudden I'm having flashbacks of a rain-soaked walk/run to the Gidleys house this summer. Messy, but still far more fun than last night. I'm sure I looked like a rain-soaked rat, but at least I had a fun memory with Matt that will not soon be forgotten. So...last night's freezing, snowy, icy steps were counted one-by-one and excruciatingly painful as my toes and fingers began to freeze and lose all feeling. I arrived at the Steere building to see that my face was wet, and every time I blinked, mascara was removed from my eyelashes and making black marks on my cheeks and eyelids. What a mess! I have to say, the band did a great job, though. Matt's parts on "Carol of the Bells" and "Oh Holy Night" were so great - it made me so proud to watch him play those so well. So, was it worth the walk? In a way, yes. But I have gained wisdom from the experience and will some day apply it. Such as learning that being a good girlfriend does not necessarily require frozen appendages as part of the deal. Good lesson.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Shoes, Shoes, and More Shoes

Since I posted a scary picture of Matt last time, I owe him a nice one. This is about the only picture we got from Lindsey's wedding on Friday, anyway. It snowed for some of the afternoon and all evening, so it was a little treacherous for those traveling but definitely made it beautiful. It was really fun to dance with Matt and with the heels I wore, I think it was a decent workout, too. So overall, I'd have to give it a thumbs-up. LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG day, though - the night wedding seems like such a romantic prospect, but no thanks to the waiting-around-all-day aspect of it. But I hope she enjoyed it since that is how she wanted it. Too bad you can't see my cute shoes in this picture - they were killer. And I can't find a link to them on the Internet, so you'll have to live wondering. I'll try to wear them for Christmas or something so my Waverly friends can see them. Payless has these amazing gold shoes with which I am so in love, but I have refrained so far. Sorry, I got a little distracted with the introduction of the topic of shoes. Well, remember to bundle up and head out for Windows on Main tomorrow night - Crossed is playing in the Steere's window, so come by and make faces in the window...I mean, cheer them on. :-) I am so the supportive girlfriend, let me tell you.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Does anyone else love to dress up? The thought of going home and cuddling up on the couch in sweats is always appealing, but there is something about putting on a beautiful dress or a nice outfit and doing something special. I enjoyed dressing up for Lindsey's wedding. I know, at the end of the night the only thing I could think about was taking off the restrictive undergarments and high-maintenance dress, letting my hair down, and grabbing my warmest pajamas. But for those few hours, it was great to feel like a beautiful princess. If you haven't read Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, I HIGHLY encourage it. A portion of the book discusses how it is core to us as women to have a desire to be beautiful - not only to be beautiful, but to offer our beauty to others. I can't say it as well as they do in a few hundred pages, but it is impacting to know that we are made in the image of God and He created us to be this way. So enjoy your holiday parties and any dressing up you will get to do - you are ALL beautiful and bless my life with your beauty in many ways.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bridesmaid again...

This weekend, I will be in the second wedding I've been in over the past 2 months; I also attended a third. This is majorly pushing my wedding quota, I'll have you know. The only redeeming fact is that I get to dance (YEAH!) and wear a beautiful dress. Expensive, yes, but beautiful. So I will endure yet another wedding, a Christmas one, which incidentally, would be my absolute dream come true. But look at the bright side - at least I have a date for this one! Even if I won't get to sit next to him.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Now, I am as big a Christmas freak as you will ever find, and I love almost everything about the season. But I have to say Thanksgiving runs a close second for a number of reasons.

1. It always brings with it an awesome 4-day weekend!
2. The food rules, although I'm already feeling guilty about it and it hasn't even begun yet.
3. It holds the promise of Christmas-yet-to-come - I love the excitement of getting ready for Christmas and all the activities that happen around the holiday. And on Thanksgiving, there is still so much to anticipate over the next month.
4. The shopping. I can't last very long with the crazy crowds, but the great deals are worth the effort to me. Plus, the malls are decorated so awesome these days that I could go and just stare at the decor and be happy.

So, I'm looking forward to this long weekend. I will miss my sisters, but we will have fun with my parents and Tyler and enjoy this opportunity to be with them. So, enjoy your Thanksgiving and the time with family and friends. We truly have so much for which to be thankful.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New York Picture Gallery

Matt finished updating his website, which includes picture galleries from our New York trip and the Queen concert. There are some great pictures, so I thought you would all love the chance to check it out. :-) Is everyone aware that there are only 46 days until Christmas? How did that happen, by the way? Well, I have no time to have any other poignant thoughts, so enjoy the pictures and all your Christmas preparations...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What's a weekend?

I used to have weekends. I watched "What Not to Wear" on Friday nights (I really do miss that) and some NASCAR if it was on and stay up late reading. I would sleep in on Saturdays, watch TV for a little while, read, take a shower whenever I wanted to, and just generally hang out and waste time. I no longer have such a thing as a weekend. I looked at the calendar and realized that there is something on the calendar for either Friday night or Saturday or both for every weekend until Christmas. Literally. Most of it's pretty fun stuff, so it's not that I'm not excited about it. Especially doing all the fun holiday things with Matt. But I really can't figure out what happened to actually having a Saturday. And I wonder why my house is never clean and nothing seems to be organized anymore.

Friday, October 28, 2005


I have to say, my NASCAR obsession has cooled quite a bit lately. This has coincided interestingly enough with the time I started dating Matt. In the past, I would watch qualifying on Friday, practice and the Busch race on Saturday, and the Cup race on Sundays. Faithfully. I would fit in the truck races when I could, but I was religious about the rest. But especially as we've been gone and busy over the past month, I think I've watched one race live in the past 4 or 5 weeks and maybe one taped. I've taped the others but haven't even had time to watch the tape! I'm concerned about myself - I think I may be caring less about it these days. Maybe if my Ford guys were running a little better in the points standings I would be more compelled to watch. I think the main thing is that if I can't see it live, it's hard for me to get into the taped version. And if I know the outcome, sometimes it's hard to care about how they got there. Unless someone really good won or there was a great wreck. I am somewhat distraught about this new trend, but considering the fact that the season is almost over, I only have 4 more races to correct the trend. I have posted this picture of me and Carl Edwards at Kansas Speedway last year - maybe that will inspire me to be a better fan. We'll see what happens. I may need some prayer soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Okay, here is the chicken enchilada recipe (the house still smells like garlic, by the way - it's so wonderful):

8 6-inch tortillas
1/2 c. chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. margarine or butter
3 tbsp. flour
8 oz. carton of sour cream
2 c. chicken broth
4 oz. can diced green chili peppers, drained
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Monterey-Jack cheese
2 c. chopped cooked chicken (or turkey)

optional: sliced pitted ripe olives
optional: chopped tomatoes
optional: sliced green onions

Wrap tortillas in foil. Heat oven to 350 - warm tortillas for 10-15 minutes or till softened. (I never did this, but I'll stick in here in case you're ambitious.)
For sauce, in a saucepan, cook onion, garlic, coriander, and pepper in margarine or butter until onion is tender. Stir flour into sour cream; add to onion mixture. Stir in broth and chili peppers at once. (I never used the chili peppers, FYI.) Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 c. of cheese.
For filling, stir 1/2 c. of the sauce into chicken. Place about 1/4 c. of filling atop each tortilla; roll up. Arrange rolls, seam side down, in a lightly greased 12"x7 1/2"x2" baking dish. Top with remaining sauce. Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven about 35 min. or till heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes more or till cheese melts. If desired, sprinkle with olives, tomatoes, and/or green onions. Let stand 10 minutes.

I hope it turns out as well for you as it did for me. As a side note, the coolest thing ever today was watching something Matt was selling on eBay - it went from $80.00 with about 7 minutes to go to a final sale price of $177.50. It was SO sweet to click refresh and watch the price go higher and higher. Not so sweet when you're a bidder, but more than fun as a seller. Or a seller's girlfriend. I know I get worked up about sports and stuff, but it's more fun when he's actually making some money!! He suggested getting popcorn to sit and watch the next item end. I am all for it - much better than a movie.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Chicken Enchiladas

Matt's still working on the pictures, but here's one of us and a link to the website with pictures from the Queen concert.
Yesterday I made these chicken enchiladas for dinner. It's one of those things where you feel like you're making 4 different components at once and it seems like a balancing act, but when they were done, oh my word, what joy they brought to me. I knew Matt liked them because I had made them once before, but I forgot how good they were. It is SO worth the work! My house still smells like garlic. Such a beautiful thing. I am getting excited and am beginning to salivate as I think about eating the leftovers tonight. That and continuing to clean my insane house that still suffers from the remnants of our New York trip and my inability to be home for one single solitary night since I returned. Ooohh, but I have that caramel corn from Heather at home, too...okay, I'm going now.

Two months till Christmas!!

Friday, October 21, 2005

New York City

Okay, I'll make this as concise as possible. Our trip was absolutely awesome! We did miss our flight out, and I was really frustrated with myself for running us that close on time, but we didn't have any plans for that day, so at least it didn't throw off the trip in that way. Although I can no longer say that I've never missed a flight in my life. So the first thing we did when we got to NY was eat dinner. We picked Planet Hollywood, and it ended up being smack dab in the center of Times Square. I have to say, it was amazing to step out of the cab in the middle of all the lights and people and the city life. I loved it. On Saturday, we took a bus tour that hit all the high points of the city. We got off near the site of the Twin Towers and walked around for a while at the south end of Manhattan. That was probably one of the most memorable parts of the trip for me - just being able to see Ground Zero, to see all the people that were there, and to experience it in person. We saw some amazing churches that day as well - awesome architecture and incredible organ music in one of them...I'm getting hungry, so I think I'll write more later. But Matt is going to put a bunch of the pictures on a website, so I will let you know where that is so you can check it all out (it's, like, 4 pictures of us and 444 pictures of buildings and Queen...that's my boyfriend). He's too cute.


Okay, Heather tagged me, and I've never seen this before, but it looked like fun. I'm a loser, too, Heth, so don't worry about it. She said that this meme is a little like a chain letter, in that you put your blog on the bottom of the list and bump the other blogs up.

1. Hind’s Feet
2. Dandelions & Roses
3. Lifenut
4. From Under the Laundry Pile
5. Waverly Rules

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was a freshman at Central Bible College in Springfield, MO, very much alone and scared and missing my family, especially my 2-year-old brother. I had just made the "cut" for the traveling drama team, though, so that was the highlight of those early months, for sure. I don't know if I would have stayed had it not been for that ministry and the relationships I formed there.

What were you doing 5 years ago?
I was working at the National Youth Department for the Assemblies of God, probably just having returned from the Speed the Light Summit at Reynolds Plantation near Atlanta, Georgia. Always a fun trip - I was also singing in the choir at Central Assembly and helping with the youth choir.

What were you doing one year ago?
Working on the Harvest Party with Maggie...figuring out how to get my first kid's Christmas musical off the ground with the great help of Kerri Buresh.

What were you doing yesterday?
Matt's grandmother's funeral...then we went to Waterloo for a little bit. Read at Barnes & Noble and ate some great desserts and had coffee. Talked with Jenny, worked on laundry from the trip, and met with Melanie.

5 snacks you enjoy
Fat-free Pringles with A&E Light Party dip
fresh, hot, soft chocolate peanut butter chip cookies (or any fresh, hot, soft cookies)
Captain Crunch cereal, or any cereal for that matter (Amen, Heather)
This toffee stuff that Denise Negen made - it's unbelievable

5 songs you know all the words to
"I Am Not Alone" by Natalie Grant
"We Are the Reason" by Avalon
"So You Would Come" by Hillsongs
"Last Flight Out" by Plus One (I know, boy band, but the lyrics are incredible)
"The Nearness of You" by Norah Jones

5 things you would do if you had a million dollars
Take a sweet vacation
Pay off all my debt
Buy myself a killer, loaded red Mustang
Pay off Matt's house and sink most of the rest into remodeling it
Buy my Dad a new Harley Davidson Ford F-150

5 things you like doing
drinking coffee at Barnes & Noble and reading books/magazine with Matt
looking at fall leaves
decorating for Christmas!!

5 bad habits
Rarely flossing
I never wash my car.
Eating cereal before going to bed (me, too, Heather!!)
I can't throw anything away!
I never make my bed.

5 things you would never wear again
peasant blouse
leg warmers
a French braid
According to "What Not to Wear," short women should not wear long skirts. So that may be out for me unless I find something I cannot resist.

5 favorite toys
My Dell DJ
my digital camera
my hot pink purse
eye shadow brushes
black boots

I guess I'm supposed to be tagging as well, so I tag:

If you decide to participate, put your blog on the bottom of the list and bump #1 off the top. Have fun!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What to Wear

I have the hardest time deciding what to bring on vacations. This one is only a few days, so it doesn't seem like it should be that difficult. But I always feel the need to be prepared for any and every situation that may arise - what if it's colder than I thought? warmer? What if I want to dress up for something? dress down? Do I have the right shoe options for all these possible outfits? jewelry? purse? I mean, there are so many things to think about it's not even funny. And that doesn't even include pajamas, swimsuit, workout clothes (just IN CASE I want to work out - like there's so much time for that on vacation...but you never know). No matter - in 9 hours, I will be on the road, all my options exhausted and hopefully all of it fitting into one hot pink suitcase. I also have a cute black satin backpack for my carry-on - Target clearance for $4.48. That rules. Hopefully I can stay focused enough to get a few things done before I go home. Can't wait to tell you all about it.

Oh, by the way, if you like scary stuff you will have to drive by Matt's house when we get back. He made the scariest ghost that will be on's freaky. You have to go after dark.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New York, New York!

I can't believe you are not all getting sick of pictures of me. But here's a picture of me and Matt from Saturday as THREE days Matt, Chris, and I are leaving for NY!! I just keep hearing "New York, New York, a wonderful town; the Bronx is up and the Battery's down; the people ride in a hole in the ground; New York, New York; what a wonderful town!" I'm not sure if that's exactly the order it goes in, but it's playing over and over in my head. It's from the movie "On the Town" - I own that on DVD. Great movie. Anyway, I am getting SOOOO excited for my first trip ever to the Big Apple! I have yet another opportunity to use the hot pink suitcase, thank you very much. I am putting the new Queen CD on my computer right now so I will hopefully be familiar with at least some of the stuff they'll be doing at the concert. I need to check the weather forecast for this weekend so I can pack appropriately as well. In case you're wondering, New York City has been my dream trip for a few years now, so I am getting excited like you would not believe...well, maybe you would. I'll have SO many pictures next week!!! AAAAHHHH!!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Another Wedding

We went to yet another wedding yesterday, that of Pam and Jack. I wasn't too opposed since I was able to wear a dress my sister bought probably 5 years ago when the Ann Taylor Outlet in Branson closed and she had yet to wear it. It was a cute little burgundy dress with some beads on it, but it was too cold to wear without a sweater (it is spaghetti-strapped). Anyway, Matt was all fine in his groomsman's tux, so after the 11:00 a.m. wedding and reception (with great soup and pie, by the way), we went to Cedar Falls with Maggie and Jason to see a movie. Yes, in all our wedding finery. Well, not "our wedding" finery period. That didn't come out quite right. Then we read at Barnes and Noble for a little while - I'm very interested in finishing the book I started, 9 Things You Must Do (to Succeed in Love and Life) by Dr. Henry Cloud. He's a great author, so I will try to pick that one up soon. And we topped it off with dinner at Bourbon Street. Such a great place - I've yet to eat something there that I didn't absolutely love. I like dress up days. Thanks for the fun day, dear! (I have a picture or two, but the batteries on my camera are dead, so I'll try to post on Tuesday or something.)

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Wedding Pictures That Never End

Here is a picture of our family from the wedding. Now I think all my immediate family members have made it onto my blog. Yeah! Today I am thinking about one of my favorite verses, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path" (Proverbs 3:5-6). I was contemplating the "lean not on your own understanding" part. I think I forget that a lot - my own understanding is not very clear, and when I make decisions based on it, they tend not to be the best decisions. I guess it's mostly a reminder to myself to listen to God and find out His understanding on my life and the situations I encounter. He can see much more clearly and will help me to know what to do and say.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Fall!

Heather waxed so poetic a few weeks ago about autumn, so I will not attempt to top that. I simply want to add that I LOVE FALL!! It helps that I have pulled out the Christmas music and am enjoying every moment of it. I also love to wear sweaters, and I donned a hot pink one for today. There is nothing better than Panera soup on a cool fall day - I hope I can get down to Cedar Falls this week to enjoy it. The leaves are beginning to change, and it just gives me warm fuzzies to see the changing of the seasons! My current plan is to light every candle in my house when I get home and clean up while I listen to Christmas music. YES!! I can't wait. Oh, and the picture has nothing to do with my topic - I just wanted to have a picture of my Daddy on my blog. I love you, Daddy! :-) I'll have to get Mom on here, too. I will find one from the wedding with you, too, Mama.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wedding, Part Deux

I had to post one of the three "Joys." I realized that there are a lot of great pictures, and I can't wait to see the ones from the photographer. This one's off Beth's camera, so Matt must have taken it, and he's a great photographer. I think Central (Assembly of God, Springfield, MO) is a great place for a wedding. Nice landscaping, and the chapel is very pretty in its own right. The background with the stained glass window and the stones was beautiful, and the lit candles were a great touch. Hopefully I will have something to post so you can see the backdrop. It's also sentimental for me since I attended there for about 5 years. I have a lot of memories there, and I enjoyed being back.

By the way, I was just informed via telephone that Iowa is the number one state for illegal aliens from Central and South America. And you thought YOU got weird phone calls...try working at a church.

Wedding pictures

Okay, this was supposed to be a shot of Beth handing me the bouquet since she opted not to do the "toss" at the reception. But it doesn't look like it. As Michelle said, it looks like we're doing a cheer or something. It is more dignified than standing there, waiting to catch a bouquet of flowers as though your life depended on it. I believe I was the only single girl there, so that would have been mortifying to say the least. Thank you, Beth, for sparing me the humiliation. I'm tempted to post the picture of you and John in the bathtub...oh, wait, did I say that?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Back Home

I have nothing profound today, just the fact that I am home and the laundry is done. Last week was weird - I had a great time, but it just wasn't exactly what I expected in some ways. Anyway, it was so fun to spend time with Beth and Steph (and John and Jim), to help set up for the wedding (so much work that it's insane, and it wasn't even that elaborate - there must be a way to do a more simple wedding), to wear a pretty dress and take lots of pictures, and to see so many of my wonderful friends. I always get a little sad to leave them and wish I could live closer to them, but mostly I'm grateful that I have them in my life and that we maintain the closeness we do even with the distance that separates us. And I have great friends in Waverly, too - I am SO thankful that the days of driving home and bawling my eyes out the entire way are over. So, I will get back into the swing of things and hopefully feel like a normal person in a day or two, sentimentality pushed aside for the tasks at hand. I do know that I am incredibly excited about this week's upcoming fall weather, so I will focus on that. I finally got a few wedding pictures, so here's one of me and my brother at the wedding. I will post more in coming days.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My former hometown

I am visiting my former hometown, Springfield, MO, this week. I have had a great time visiting with old friends and seeing how much the city continues to grow. I really love Springfield, and I am enjoying my time here, although much of it has been consumed with stuff for Beth's wedding. I tried on my dress last night, and I think I'm going to wear my hair up. I wasn't sure with the strapless dress if I would like it, but I did, so I bought some hair clips and need to buy some jewelry before Saturday. It is fun to be here with all my family - we so rarely get time together, so I look forward to enjoying the time with them. I am ready for the weekend to be here, though - today was a long day, and I am ready to see everyone at the wedding. Well, I'm REALLY ready to see Matt, truth be told. :-) I hope you feel better SOON, dear!! I love you. Okay, I will stop now that you're all thoroughly disgusted and my brother wants to play some online game.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Chicken noodle soup and such

Since I am going to be gone all week, I have an excuse for writing twice in one day. And the only reason I'm writing is because I had to leave Matt today, and he was so sick that I felt horrible! I wanted to take care of him, but there's really nothing I could do other than making chicken noodle soup. I don't need to get sick when I have such a big week ahead of me, so it was probably best for me not to stick around, but I so badly wished I could stay and do something. It didn't help that it was a sad, rainy, dreary day as well. Well, if I can't do anything, at least I can write about it.

I remember my last trip to Springfield - 5 months ago almost to the day, and it is unbelievable to think of how many things have changed since then. I wonder what life will look like 5 months from now. I hope God has some big things to teach me this week because I sure feel like I'm missing a lot by being gone right now. Jenny and Michelle reassured me that they will not forget me this week...that was very sweet. I will miss ALL of you...but, Matt, I have to say I'll miss you the most. And I hope you get to read this because it should mean you are feeling better!

Rainy Days

On this rainy, dreary Sunday, I am reminded of one of my favorite verses: "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:26) I often feel that "my flesh and my heart" fail me, but this verse gives me hope that I don't always have to be strong - God will be strong for me if I let Him. I need to know that today, to know that He is who He says He is and that He has always been faithful. What a track record He has, and He leaves no room to doubt that He will come through for me once again and every time I need Him. So on a day when I feel as though my flesh and my heart are not very strong, I am clinging to the hope of God and His strength.

Friday, September 23, 2005


I stopped for gas this morning, so of course a donut and a Diet Pepsi were in order. I have to say, Kwik Star donuts are incredible. I am fully enjoying the experience. Today I would actually like to write something of consequence - I was flipping through my notes on an incredible book we read as a staff - Visioneering by Andy Stanley (an amazing book for anyone to read - it encourages you to look for God's vision for your life as a spouse, parent, leader, friend...very inspiring). Here's a quote from "The Power of Vision" (chapter 9):

"All of us have been impacted by the visions people intentionally or unintentionally cast for us. Understanding this simple concept will help you grasp your potential as a visioncaster in the lives of those around you. Just as people's words have set a course for your life, so you too have the potential to set or alter the course of another...Vision is powerful. Particularly when it is cast by someone we look up to and respect, someone we trust and are prone to emulate. Chances are you either have or will have people in your life who feel that way about you...Once an authority figure exits our life, his or her influence often disappears as well. But not so with the person wise enough to plant the seed of a positive vision in our hearts. Their influence is often felt for a lifetime."

Those words are a reminder of the daily influence we have on those around us. Even the ordinary days, the laundry days and the grocery store days, we have opportunities to speak words to others that breathe life or death. Because I feel God has given me many people who have chosen to cast a positive vision for my life, I feel strongly about doing the same in a purposeful way for others. Be encouraged that though life at times seems mundane and routine, you are impacting those around you with an influence that can reverberate for a lifetime.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I have so little time for this today it's not even funny, but I will post under the crushing pressure of all my blogging friends. I have to say, I am SSSOOOO excited to go to Springfield next week it's not even funny. I desperately miss my friend Christy and need to see her - it has been over 2 years since I've given her a hug!! That's too long. Leann has a new baby, and so does Shannon. Beth, my sister, is getting married, so I will get to have some great family memories throughout the week of working on wedding stuff and the wedding itself on Saturday. The one thing I am SO incredibly bummed about is that I am missing Pastor Marvin and Chris' service here. I seriously cried today when I was thinking about it - it's so hard when so many people you love are together and you can't be there! I know it's ironic that I would feel that way when I will be with my family, but Waverly has become home and the people here my other family, so I will miss being a part of this special time. But there is no missing my sister's wedding or the opportunity to get away and clear my head, so I will go and I will enjoy it with my new hot pink suitcase! I will also stop at Super Target in Liberty, MO, and that will make everything better. Springfield, HERE I COME!!